Crystal Hammon is a vintage fashion enthusiast who blogs at Dressed Her Days Vintage. When she isn’t working as a writer, she teaches yoga, plays golf, sews and reads. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
How did Audrey Hepburn become a global style icon? Not by accident. She was deliberate about style. Out of admiration, we do something today that Audrey wouldn’t abide: we try to imitate her sense of style. It’s so…un-Audrey-like. Rocking your inner Audrey takes more than a sheath dress and a tiara. Here are the genuine secrets of channeling a real Audrey vibe—your way.
1) Master your body’s fine points. Audrey was body conscious. She knew every flaw and asset and her clothing always reflected one of two goals: hide or highlight. So you have a few flaws. Flaws? What flaws? That was Audrey’s mindset.
2) Stand tall. As a reluctant movie star, Audrey’s real dream was to dance—a career choice she made well before she was discovered. That training and a perfectionist mother who never allowed her to slouch gave Audrey remarkably good carriage. You can look like royalty in a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt when you have good posture. Walking tall does more for your appearance than all the diamond (or zirconia) tiaras in the world.
3) Be a devoted Mom. She was somewhat shy about giving interviews, but one thing always came through about Audrey: being a mother meant everything to her. She considered it her highest calling. Whether you have children or not, sharing your wisdom with someone who is trying to find their way in the world can be part of every woman’s destiny.
4) Be kind, be wonderful, be extraordinary. “Everything you’ve ever read or heard about Audrey Hepburn doesn’t come close to how wonderful she was,” says Richard Shepherd in Sam Wasson’s book, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman. Shepherd, the producer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, describes her as bright, caring, modest, gentle and kind. When you cultivate those traits, you bring Audrey’s loveliness back to life in a way that mere clothing can’t accomplish.
5) Eat well, but in moderation. I know you’ve heard this Audrey-Lore: She kept her weight down by having toast and tea for breakfast and splurging at lunch with… cottage cheese or yogurt and fruit. Wrong. In truth, Audrey was just like the rest of us. She loved to eat. How did she do it? Humphrey Bogart said it best: “She’s disciplined, like all those ballet dames.” In What Would Audrey Do?: Timeless Lessons for Living with Grace and Style, by Pamela Keough, Audrey shares her dietary habits. “I eat everything, everything—but as soon as I’m satisfied, a little hatch closes and I stop.” That and a little help from her genes kept Audrey svelte.
But that was her gene pool—not ours. Let’s be sane about our weight. Regular, extraordinary people are too busy doing items 1, 2, 3 and 4 to obsess about weight. Weight loss is a very contemporary preoccupation that did NOT exist in days gone by.
Would Audrey wear cheetah? How can you improve on this cheetah-print Megan and a pair of boots? These vintage sterling rosebud earrings and a strand of metallic beads were all it needed. The earrings belonged to my husband’s great aunt. They are so tarnished they almost look black, but that just adds to their appeal.
There will never be another Audrey Hepburn, but practicing these Audrey-like qualities every day is a worthy aspiration for any woman. Let’s not be satisfied with imitating her iconic style. What made Audrey special wasn’t just her clothes—it was her concern for others. If you could leave a legacy as lasting as Audrey’s, what would it be?
This article originally appeared at Dressed Her Days Vintage.